Carlisle United 3 Oldham Athletic 2: Naturally, Carlisle United turned a routine cup win into a more typical nerve-shredder, but the outcome is all that truly matters at Brunton Park right now, and hopefully this fine FA Cup victory also proves a game-changer for their fortunes at HQ.

Their first home success since August 19 might also take Richie Bennett a little further down the road towards becoming a potent Football League finisher. After 15 games without, the big forward now has three goals in two, his brace on Saturday particularly sweet against the home-town club he still supports.

Bennett's pair of headers - bread and butter finishes for a tall striker - could have seen United cruise. Instead, 3-0 become 3-2 and a tense last 20 minutes unfolded. But the Blues, having gone more than two months without any sort of joy at home, will not quarrel with the manner of this result.

Nor should they. Oldham's almost-fightback aside, it was an excellent effort overall from Keith Curle's side to turf out higher-division opposition; something they also achieved despite keeping a couple of their chief creators, Nicky Adams and Jamie Devitt, out of the starting line-up.

"The messageboards and social media would have been absolutely full of other people's opinions over the team selection," said Curle, conscious that leaving out those two was an eyebrow-raiser.

"But it's not their [supporters'] job, and it is mine. If they get it wrong, they can delete the page, delete the text or the post, and move on to base their opinion on something else. Like Brexit. Or the FA."

Let us leave those hyper-sensitive areas untouched and get down to the more serious matter of how United advanced to tonight's Second Round draw. First, they withstood early pressure from an Oldham side that seemed to have the edge in pace and athleticism.

Then, they showed set-piece nous to take the lead through Bennett, before Hallam Hope added a peach of a second. By this stage United had restricted Richie Wellens' team well, and Bennett's next goal, on the hour, seemed to have wrapped things up. Oldham, though, then went more keenly, and directly, at Carlisle's increasingly deep tactical operation, and two quick goals tested their fortitude.

They "dug deep", though, to quote one of their five defenders (Tom Parkes) and certainly earned the winning feeling that the full-time whistle delivered on minute 97. Curle also gets marks for trusting the potential of Bennett and predicting that an extra defensive body would be helpful, instead of a more open system that could have been outmanoeuvred by Wellens' ball-players.

In all, United won by maximising what you could call League Two qualities. Clint Hill was excellent as a no-nonsense leader of the back line while United, once they got going, made the most of their crosses and balls forward.

First, though, they had to get up to Oldham's speed; a challenge in itself. Down the right, Cameron Dummigan and Paul Green linked fluently and their early invention forced a chance that Queensy Menig failed to keep on target.

A few minutes later Dan Gardner struck the bar from 20 yards and the visitors seemed eager to capitalise on some sluggishness from the Blues. Patience, though, was a virtue, and when United better fed the runs of the likes of Hope, they made some progress. One steady move down the left saw the striker shoot for the neat post, where Johny Placide comfortably saved.

Next, though, after Jack Bonham had denied Craig Davies, they made an attack count. You would not have described the goal as inevitable given the general direction of play, but the Blues were clinical when Danny Grainger's deep corner found the peeling movement of Hill, and Bennett was there to nod it home at the Warwick Road End.

The game then rattled from end to end as Oldham tried to hit back. Mike Jones arrived onto a Grainger cross, and Hope was crowded out by defenders after another Grainger advance, while in United's box, the captain deflected a Green shot over his own bar, Peter Clarke heading the corner millimetres wide.

It remained sharply poised, despite United's lead, but then Curle's men struck again. Bonham's long free-kick drew defenders to Bennett, allowing Hope to drop back into space from where he uncorked a sweet left-footed shot past the rooted Placide.

It was excellent from Hope, who also showed good strength in his running as United continued to press with purpose. Oldham had defending to rue for both goals and although Menig again went close after a scramble, Wellens surely wanted half-time to try and get some flow back into his players, and think of ways to better involve Davies and Eoin Doyle in attack.

Carlisle's three centre-halves were among the reasons they had struggled for glimpses of goal. The second half began with United deeper yet also poised to break when possible. With one such attack Hope got the better of his man in the box and saw his square pass taken off Bennett's toe. With another, James Brown and Luke Joyce worked a neat triangle before Reggie Lambe crossed expertly for Bennett, whose header had enough on it to find the net.

Game over? For teams that do things the conventional way, perhaps. This, though, was not a 3-0 lead but a Carlisle United 3-0 lead - and in no time things became more complex. First, bolstered by two attacking substitutes, Oldham pressured United with a delivery that Bennett hoofed away but, when it was returned by Dummigan, Clarke's header bent just inside the right-hand post.

With Kelvin Etuhu replacing Hope with the intention of consolidating Carlisle's position and giving the visitors' right side a further obstacle, Oldham's vocal support then had more to cheer seven minutes later, when Bonham's sharp save from Aaron Amadi-Hollway fell back to the striker, and he slotted it in.

A season so far spent finding different ways to lose results at home in the league now threatened to overlap into the cup. What would shedding a three-goal lead do to United's state of mind, and the belief of their supporters?

Thankfully we never got to find out. Perhaps Oldham's uprising focused minds at the United back, because their work from here was tighter again. Although the visitors laid on more pressure, they did not force plenty of opportunities. Their best, in the 84th minute, saw Bonham deny Clarke when the big defender tried to dribble instead of shoot.

Otherwise, United had to battle through the remaining time with concentration and organisation rather than individual heroics. They narrowly failed to take chances to restore some comfort to the score - Placide tipping over a strong Grainger free-kick, substitute Devitt shooting wide after bursting through in stoppage time - but there was enough graft in their own half, enough timely challenges and blocks, to justify the result that eventually came.

It also brought into the bargain £18,000 of prize money that could help Curle's January kitty, or offset a fairly low Saturday crowd of 3,900 (only 3,102 of whom were United supporters). To get those numbers up, Carlisle will need a fair few more afternoons like this on their own grass.

With Bennett now into his stride, the cup's lucrative third round 90 minutes away, and the knowledge, finally, that Brunton Park doesn't always have to be a haven for other teams, that prospect should not be beyond their reach.